Three Lacey men and one from Berkeley are charged with a rash of thefts of expensive catalytic converters from Toyota vehicles in Toms River, Lacey and Stafford townships, and the attempted theft of one in Wall Township from Aug. 26 to Dec. 6.
Seven truck owners were victimized in Toms River, two in Lacey, one in Stafford, and two of the defendants were caught trying to cut the converter from a vehicle in a Garden State Parkway rest area in Wall Township, leading to the arrest of the other members of the ring, authorities said.
Timothy M. Davis, 42, of Paradise Point Way; Robert J. Nassaney, 31, of Parkers Point Blvd.; and Joseph W. Tigue, 23, of Fairview Lane, all of Lacey Township, and Matthew E. Barte, 31, of Frederick Drive, Bayville, are accused of conspiring to steal the catalytic converters. Each theft cost the owner of the vehicle more than $1,000. They are accused of conspiracy, criminal mischief, theft and in the case of Nassaney and Davis, attempted theft of a converter from a 2004 Toyota Tacoma on Dec. 6 at the Monmouth service area of the Garden State Parkway and heroin possession.
Most of the thefts took place in Toms River, according to the indictment handed up by an Ocean County grand jury.
According to the indictment:
On Aug. 26, Tigue drove Nassaney to a Lakehurst Road address where he allegedly cut the converter from a 1997 4Runner.
On Oct. 6, the duo went to the Toms River bus terminal, where Nassaney allegedly cut a converter from a 2002 Toyota pickup.
They returned to the bus terminal on Nov. 3 and Nassaney allegedly cut the converter from a 2002 pickup and a 2000 Toyota. On the same day, Tigue drove Nassaney to a parking lot across from the Toms River Post Office, where he allegedly cut the converter off a 2000 pickup.
Tigue drove Nassaney to the Forked River rest area on the Parkway on Nov. 8, where Nassaney allegedly stole the converter from a 2005 Toyota 4Runner.
In Lacey, on Nov. 15, Tigue is accused of stealing the converter from a 2005 pickup truck.
On Nov. 22 it was Davis driving Nassaney to the Ocean County Mall in Toms River, where Nassaney allegedly cut the converter from a 2006 Toyota Sequoia.
Tigue drove Barte to the Toms River bus terminal on Nov. 29, where Tigue allegedly cut a converter from a 2005 pickup while Barte acted as his lookout.
Davis drove Nassaney to Ocean County College on Dec. 2, where Nassaney allegedly cut the converter from a 2002 Toyota. On the same day Davis drove Nassaney to Southern Ocean County Hospital in Manahawkin, where Nassaney allegedly stole a converter from a 1992 4Runner.
Davis and Nassaney went to the Monmouth rest area of the Parkway on Dec. 6, where Nassaney began cutting the converter from a 2004 pickup truck when they were caught by police.
Tigue is free on $30,000 bail, the others on $20,000 bail each.